Saturday, September 30, 2006

Scarves and Seitan

So today is a perfect soup day. I love soup no matter when, but today (a) it's raining, and (b) I have studying to do. Procrastination + bad weather = soup, no 2 ways about it.

Today's choice: cold soup. Not because it is cold, but because you make it when you have a cold. (Which I do, on a permanent basis. It's really allergies, but that's beside the point.) And today's version is extra-special, because there's seitan in it. The basic cold soup goes like this: 1 part chopped carrots, 1 part chopped celery, 1 part chopped onion, 3 parts water. Bring to a boil, simmer for about 20 minutes, salt and pepper to taste, eat. (This soup is completely abnormal to me because it has celery -- which I hate -- and it lacks garlic -- which I love. Go figure.) But I've been a little lacking in protein recently (no lectures please...) so I decided to make fake-chicken soup by adding homemade seitan. To make seitan, you take about 2 cups of gluten flour and mix in salt, pepper, and spices of choice (I used onion powder, garlic powder, dried thyme and dried dill.) Then you combine about 1 tablespoon of soy sauce with about 2 cups of water, and add it into the flour mix, which rapidly turns into a blob that resembles mutant oatmeal. You knead the mess for about 3 minutes, then slice it into tiny chunks (they expand about 5 times their size when you cook them) and add it to the soup. Oh, and don't let the chunks touch each other after they're cut...they glue themselves back together. It's weird. Then you simmer everything for about an hour. It's my ultimate comfort food.

I made another stashbusting scarf for the Red Scarf Project. It's not quite finished -- I have a lot of ends to weave in still -- but I liked the Medusa-esque in-progress shot.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand...guess what? Celery-butt!! (What can I say...I'm easily amused.)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I feel smart...

I have finally obtained a solve time in the top 50% of people who have solved "Evil" puzzles on WebSudoku. I rule. (I am, of course, way behind studying...but hey, gotta take your genius moments where you can get them.)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Stash-busting Scarf

It's the "first project" that I never made...a garter-stitch scarf with huge yarn and huge needles. I rather like it. It's for donating to the Red Scarf Project, to be sent to a college student who has aged out of foster care. Hopefully they like it too.

Why I Like Getting Mail

I like getting mail because I have a cute mailman. Who wears camo pants. And who is not afraid of my dog, even when she is in full-out psycho mode. I think I am in lust...

Now, the astute reader may notice that the above image is not, in fact, my dog. (I question whether it is even a dog at all...) I swear, however, that it is what some people see when they look at Loki. (It's OK, they're just wusses.)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I am going to try and post every few weeks even when I have nothing to say...just so that it doesn't turn into that whole "well, it's been so long that I'm embarrassed to would take too long to catch up on what I've been up to in the last [week, month, year, decade, etc.]" that seems to happen to me all too often. Like, just yesterday I ran into someone that I knew from freshman year of undergrad (forever long ago!) and we had that whole conversation. It was weird trying to summarize 7 years of life in about 3 minutes. (I managed though...go me!)

School is crazy...on top of studying, I'm heavily involved in 2 extracurriculars (each with 2 or 3 subcommittees) and peripherally involved in 2 more. So I've been bombarded with emails (one of which said simply, "What are we going to do?!?! HELP!!" and of course led to more work...) and have therefore had little-to-no time for cooking (much thanks to Mum and to Beast for the amazing homemade food...and to OSU (peripherally) for the pizza that I obtained for free last week.) And no time at all for interesting knitting. Baby hats abound -- and I am thinking of making a stash-busting scarf, so as to free all of my yarn-binge yarn from its plastic bags, to tempt me to make cool stuff...and Kabs, I have not forgotten that I owe you for the rest of the red yarn. I have retrieved the checkbook from under the couch and will pay you. Soon. Or I will get cash...and try not to spend it. (Try being key there.) I cannot wait for this weekend (post-test weekends are the best). It will be full of fiber artistry and of art museum joy. Free on Sundays -- even better.

And until then, I will attempt to maintain my sanity. Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Details of a Scarf

So it's been a while (because of a little thing called "school") and here is the promised how-to on the beaded scarf. I used Berroco Softwist Bulky in "fern" (it's really olive green...shade #7445), and I'd apparently been hoarding it for awhile because it's been discontinued. The key points are to get a smooth yarn that can handle a little wear-and-tear, and to get beads that can slide easily over the yarn. I used US 10.5 needles (6.5 mm) but gauge isn't critical. As far as I remember, I cast on 19 stitches and the scarf was about 5" wide and about 5' long. (Kabs, correct me if I'm drastically wrong, OK?)

To start, thread the beads onto the yarn. I used about 200 beads and about 200 yards of yarn for the scarf. Cast on and do a few rows of garter stitch or other pattern of your choice. I did some eyelets, but since I was making it up as I went along, I can't recreate it here :(

There are 4 rows to the pattern. K1b means make a beaded stitch (instructions below); if you're not using beads, it's just a K1. When I made my scarf, I would do one set with beads, then 4 sets without.

Row 1: Knit all stitches.
Row 2: K1, *yo, K1b*, rep from * to * until 1 stitch remains, yo, K1.
Row 3: *K1, drop yo from needle*, rep from * to * until 1 stitch remains, K1.
Row 4: Knit all stitches.

Repeat until scarf is desired length, then do a few more rows of garter stitch or other pattern of your choice. Bind off and admire your creation :)

The WIP in the pics below is going to be a headband...I cast on 7 stitches and I'm using 2 beads in each stitch.

So here is a K1b:

1) Place the right needle behind the left through the loop -- this is preparing to make a knit stitch. Slide the bead(s) close to the needle.

2) Make the knit stitch and be sure that the beads are included in the new loop.

3) Slide the loop off of the needle (finish the knit stitch as usual).

4) Before you turn your work to continue to the next row, make sure that all of the beads are on the part of the stitch that is facing you.

4) After you have finished row 3 of the pattern, it should look something like this (picture has 3 repeats of pattern: 2 with beads and one without)...

Just a few things I've figured out:

- If you put the beads on the yarnovers they will not (for some reason) end up on the drop-stitch part.

-If you put beads on the first or last knit stitch of a row you will get bulgy edges.

- The pattern is written for making rows of beads...but you can of course sprinkle them in wherever you would like.

- The pattern is also written so that all of the beads end up on the same side of the scarf...if you want to alternate them, there should be an odd number of rows between them. You can make a 5-row pattern, with row #5 being knit all stitches.

The end!